What really matters

I haven’t blogged since Robert Brookins’ memorial service, and frankly I haven’t really cared to. Many of you know that former NBA All-Star and smooth jazz musician Wayman Tisdale also passed recently after a long battle with cancer.

Wayman was also a member of the often close-knit musical community of Sacramento… he launched his recording career not long after he was the star power forward for the Sacramento Kings. I remember going over to Wayman’s house to hang-out, record and make music. My long-time friends Brian Alexander Morgan and Derek “DOA” Allen both worked with Wayman quite a bit, and I cut some of the vocals for one of my early demos in Wayman’s closet.

Wayman Tisdale

My aunt Ida Charles

Then, a week or so after Wayman’s passing, my lovely and graceful aunt Ida Charles past away. Her services were held recently at the Saint Anthony Parish in Sacramento. The celebration was a fitting tribute to a gentile wife, mother and friend to many that she came into contact with. Aunt Ida had recently celebrated her 80th birthday and her 60th year of marriage to my uncle Ray Charles (retired fire chief for the City Of Sacramento).

Ida had a 20 year career with the California Legislature as secretary to former House Speaker Willie Brown. She was a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention, and volunteer for The Red Cross and a marriage officiate for the Sacramento County Justice of the Peace.

Needless to say these losses chip away at a lot of what surrounds us… I guess it’s our story. What’s left is deep reflections on who we are, and what matters in our lives. So I guess that’s what the last month has been about for me. I have been at peace, but really trying to refocus my life’s energy and effort.

So, I am back in the studio trying to produce an album of all new original music and determined NOT to put my life or career on hold. I’m really thankful for every breath. I’m trying to live every moment – totally honor the NOW and not get stuck in the past or stress and obsess about the future. I love my wife Maria – my family and friends and my dog Reba. I’ve done plenty of stupid stuff, but don’t have one regret. I just try to keep learning and perfecting myself for that day when I too will be transformed.

So for me, I guess that’s what really matters.

Robert Brookins Memorial Celebration

Here’s the slideshow from the Robert Brookins Memorial Celebration. Press the play button to look at photos. When slide show plays, click on the flickr logo in the top left corner to go to flickr and download individual images.

Click here to download a copy of the program that I scanned and uploaded from the celebration.

The celebration was beautiful. It was held in the stadium of Grant High School – where Robert attended. The music and words spoken were powerful and emotional. Comments were made by longtime friend Gordon Jones, Derek “DOA” Allen, Verdine White, Philip Bailey, and John Paris of Earth, Wind & FIre. Music producer Jay King led the audience gathered in a loud thunderous round of applause for the the fallen singer and musical prodigy.

Long-time writing partner Tony Haynes waxed poetic on his experience collaborating with Robert. Most moving was Robert’s brother Michael who was the other half of Robert’s group AfterBach that was signed to Maurice White’s label ARC in the early ’80s. Enjoy the photos and share the memories!

Music Giant Robert Brookins Passes

Sacramento music giant and mega-talent Robert Brookins passed away last week in Sacramento. I counted Robert as a colleague and a mentor and his passing is a great loss to his friends and family, the community of Sacramento and to the music business in general.

Here‘s a report from the EUR Web.

Robert’s credits included work with Earth Wind & Fire, George Duke, The Stanley Clarke Band, The Clark/Duke Project, Stephanie Mills, Ramsey Lewis, Jeffrey Osborne and many other top artists in the business.

On a more personal note, Robert was a stellar musician who was always positive and encouraging, and a lot of fun to be around. I had been a fan of Robert’s since I was in junior high, and when I finally met him – when “Our Lives” was in heavy rotation in Los Angeles in the late ’80s – he was super cool – letting us roll around LA with him all V.I.P. style. LOL!

I met one of my best friends and another musical mentor Brian Alexander Morgan, through Rob in 1988 and I will never forget finally getting the opportunity to sing with Robert 6 years ago at the 40th Anniversary Observer Gala. He worked up a great arrangement of my song “Hold On” and we sang “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us” as the closing number for the gala.

Here’s a video of Rob performing a single off his solo album “Our Lives”. This was the jam! Rest In Peace Robeezi!